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Celebrating classic and modern Polynesian Pop
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Tiki Central Forums General Tiki 1935 Ballyhoo Magazine South Seas Edition (image heavy)
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1935 Ballyhoo Magazine South Seas Edition (image heavy)
MrBaliHai
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Joined: Jun 01, 2002
Posts: 802
Posted: 2007-04-08 06:32 am   Permalink

I went digging through the magazine racks at our local antique mall yesterday, and emerged with the April, 1935 issue of Ballyhoo, a humor magazine published by Dell between the years of 1931 and 1939. This particular issue features a South Seas theme, which should be abundantly obvious from the glorious hula girl on the cover (is that Bob Hope strumming the uke and leering from underneath his straw boater?). The contents are a mixture of Playboy-style vintage adult cartoons and Mad Magazine-ish satire. I'm sure this was pretty sophisticated and edgy stuff back in the Thirties, but today it seems hopelessly quaint.

No tikis or tropical cocktails, as this pre-dates the PolyPop era, but plenty of grass skirts, ukuleles, and National Geographic nudity.

Here are a few sample images. You can view the full-page scans
here.







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Jeff Central
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Joined: Jul 23, 2002
Posts: 1602
From: Columbus, Ohio
Posted: 2007-04-08 08:40 am   Permalink

Nice pictures BaliHai!!

Thanks for posting.

I need a cocktail shaker like THAT!!!


 
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bigbrotiki
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Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11205
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2007-04-08 09:58 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2007-04-08 08:40, Jeff Central wrote:
I need a cocktail shaker like THAT!!!



Here you go, Jeff!



What a great find, that magazine, never saw it before!
Allow me to clarify one thing: There is no Tiki in the art because it pre-dates the TIKI-era, while it certainly and unmistakeably is Polynesian Pop.


 
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MrBaliHai
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Joined: Jun 01, 2002
Posts: 802
Posted: 2007-04-08 10:08 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2007-04-08 09:58, bigbrotiki wrote:
Allow me to clarify one thing: There is no Tiki in the art because it pre-dates the TIKI-era, while it certainly and unmistakeably is Polynesian Pop.


Duly noted, bigbro. I'd always assumed the PolyPop era started with Don the Beachcomber and whatever came before that was called, The Golden Age of Ukulelia, or something.
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tikibars
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Joined: Apr 11, 2002
Posts: 2024
From: Aku Hall, Chicago
Posted: 2007-04-08 10:43 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2007-04-08 06:32, MrBaliHai wrote:




Thanks for sharing this stuff.
Amazing.

This cartoon is so prophetic - as soon as I glanced at it I thought - modern Honolulu! So true.


 
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Haole'akamai
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Joined: Jul 07, 2005
Posts: 2272
From: The Polynesian Port of NOLA
Posted: 2007-04-08 12:20 pm   Permalink

Yep - This is great!! Very interesting that they gave the ladies slanted almond-shaped eyes - to make them appear more" exotic?

 
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bigbrotiki
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Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11205
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2007-04-08 12:29 pm   Permalink

Basically, Polynesian pop started as soon as the the first explorers brought back their travelogues from the islands and embellished and romanticized them, inspiring further tall tales of earthly paradise that were the foundation of the cliched iconography that persists 'til today. Even Kevin Kostner's recent Rapa Nui movie can be considered Polynesian Pop. No matter how hard one tries to be authentic, if it is entertainment, and seen through western filters, it is pop.

Quote:

On 2007-04-08 10:08, MrBaliHai wrote:
I'd always assumed the PolyPop era started with Don the Beachcomber and whatever came before that was called, The Golden Age of Ukulelia, or something.



You are correct, Sir: The era that concerns us here most starts with the Hawaiian music craze and the first Hawaiian nightclubs in the 1920s on the mainland, or, even more specifically with Don The Beachcomber in 1934. Then in the 1950s, Tiki became Poly Pop's figurehead.


It's all explained in my Poly Pop Evolution chart on P. 46 of the BOT, here it is again for non-BOT holders:



 
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MrBaliHai
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Joined: Jun 01, 2002
Posts: 802
Posted: 2007-04-08 12:57 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2007-04-08 10:43, tikibars wrote:
This cartoon is so prophetic - as soon as I glanced at it I thought - modern Honolulu! So true.



The prescience of that cartoon surprised me as well. I wouldn't have thought that over-development in the islands was even an issue in 1935.
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MrBaliHai
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Joined: Jun 01, 2002
Posts: 802
Posted: 2007-04-08 1:35 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2007-04-08 12:29, bigbrotiki wrote:
Basically, Polynesian pop started as soon as the the first explorers brought back their travelogues from the islands and embellished and romanticized them, inspiring further tall tales of earthly paradise that were the foundation of the cliched iconography that persists 'til today.



I agree, but that's a very broad swath of time you're delineating. I can find examples of romantic south-seas imagery going back well into the 19th-century, like this 1873 lithograph from
Harper's Weekly of half-naked savages dancing around highly-stylized Moai, and I'm sure there's imagery going back even farther, that also made it into the mass-media of its day. So even though its technically correct, the term "Polynesian pop" seems a bit too modern to me to really describe what filtered into the public consciousness in the pre-Beachcomber era. I guess I'd prefer something more evocative of those times.

Your mileage may vary, of course.
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bigbrotiki
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Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11205
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2007-04-08 4:09 pm   Permalink

I was, of course, speaking figuratively, to explain the concept of the term, and then really agreeing with your asessment, showing the evolution chart that defined the term.
Sorry to be harping on this, it is my pet theory, and I love silly specialized pet theories in general.


 
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MrBaliHai
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Joined: Jun 01, 2002
Posts: 802
Posted: 2007-04-08 4:18 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2007-04-08 16:09, bigbrotiki wrote:
Sorry to be harping on this, it is my pet theory, and I love silly specialized pet theories in general.



No problem. You're certainly entitled to pontificate on your own theories...

I'd just like to come up with something a little snappier than the "pre-tiki Polynesian Pop era"...howzabout "Steamtiki"?
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Humuhumu
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Joined: Aug 22, 2002
Posts: 3623
From: San Francisco
Posted: 2007-04-08 5:12 pm   Permalink

Awesome find, Mr. Bali Hai, thanks so much for taking the time to scan in the whole thing!

I personally tend to refer to that era as the "bamboo" era. It most often comes up for me when people ask about Tradr Sam's here in SF, which is not really a tiki bar, but ia a pre-tiki bar -- a bamboo bar. Tradr Sam's is actually probably full of rattan and not bamboo now that I think about it, but when I think of all those great, gorgeous tropical jazz bars that were in Hollywood and Chicago in the '30s, I think of clean lines and bamboo.

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MrBaliHai
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Joined: Jun 01, 2002
Posts: 802
Posted: 2007-04-08 5:38 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2007-04-08 17:12, Humuhumu wrote:
Awesome find, Mr. Bali Hai, thanks so much for taking the time to scan in the whole thing!


My pleasure. I just scanned all of the South Seas-related material. There are actually about 10 more pages of generic cartoons that I didn't think would be of much interest here.
Quote:

I personally tend to refer to that era as the "bamboo" era. It most often comes up for me when people ask about Tradr Sam's here in SF, which is not really a tiki bar, but ia a pre-tiki bar -- a bamboo bar. Tradr Sam's is actually probably full of rattan and not bamboo now that I think about it, but when I think of all those great, gorgeous tropical jazz bars that were in Hollywood and Chicago in the '30s, I think of clean lines and bamboo.


Yes, that certainly works for jazz-era nightclubs and bars like the Cocoanut Grove and the Hawaiian Room. With "Steamtiki", I was thinking more of how Polynesiana influenced the Victorian era, since I have a fair amount of ephemera from that time period.

If I was more of an illustrator, I could up with some fun concept art of a Victorian tiki bar.
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Humuhumu
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Joined: Aug 22, 2002
Posts: 3623
From: San Francisco
Posted: 2007-04-08 5:54 pm   Permalink

Is there a thread on Tiki Central for everything?

Tiki Steampunk

What you've got may not perfectly fit the bill of what that thread is talking about, but it'd be interesting to see! I think Steamtiki is a 'fecto name for Victorian tropical stuffs.

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MrBaliHai
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Joined: Jun 01, 2002
Posts: 802
Posted: 2007-04-08 6:42 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2007-04-08 17:54, Humuhumu wrote:
Is there a thread on Tiki Central for everything?


Heh. Why am I not surprised?...

Quote:

What you've got may not perfectly fit the bill of what that thread is talking about, but it'd be interesting to see! I think Steamtiki is a 'fecto name for Victorian tropical stuffs.


Unfortunately, that thread never really coalesces around a single idea, but somehow combining The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (comic book version, not the excremental film) with Trader Vic's is probably close to what I'm getting at.

The problem you'd have to deal with in mixing Tiki and Victorian styles is that the Victorians viewed Polynesia as an inferior culture that they had a manifest destiny to conquer, Christianize, and replace with their own, which is almost the total opposite of mid-century Polynesian pop. One of the most heartbreaking images I have is this 1881 litho of 4 proud, beautiful
Tahitian girls covered from head-to-toe in Victorian missionary garb. I think that sums the Victorian attitude towards Polynesia up very neatly.

Bringing the conversation back to Ballyhoo, it shows just how much that puritanical view had changed by the Thirties.
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